Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal. It is a very old and historic city. Every corner of the city you will see red bricks and wooden carved houses, Stupas (Buddhist temples) and Hindu temples. Kathmandu is also very close to Nepal’s premier attraction, the Himalayas.
The city is very vibrant and unique. You will definitely be amazed by the historic feel to the city and at the very same time you will find restaurants and pubs like anywhere in western countries. The city is safe for travelers and people is Kathmandu are very warm and welcoming.
Kathmandu is a valley surrounded by hill from every side. Nepal has always been popular with mountain climbers and nature lovers from all around the world. The culture, tradition, and heritage here is one of its own. Kathmandu solely has one international airport and is the base for visitors from all around the world.
Best Places to Visit in Kathmandu
1. Durbar Square is in the heart of Kathmandu. Kathmandu was a separate kingdom centuries back in time. Nepal had many small kingdoms which was unified as one. Durbar means palace in Nepali.
Hanuman Dhoka located at the square was the royal palace at one point of time. There are lot of temples and pagoda-style buildings with wooden carving and unique architecture like Taleju Temple , the Kumari Bahal where the ‘living godess’, called ‘Kumari’ still lives.
Due to the mega earthquake one of the most unique building at the Durbar square called Kasthamandap which was constructed using a single sal tree is destroyed. Still the Durbar Square holds strong and beautiful. Locals as well as visitors enjoy the vibe at the square. It’s a great place to take a stroll around and soak in some Neplai culture and heritage.
2. Boudhanath is a Buddhist stupa and is also a UNESCO world heritage site. Boudhanath is a religious center of Nepal’s Tibetan/Buddhist community. It is very lively and surrounded by monasteries and shops selling Tibetan/Buddhist artifacts.
At the stupa you will observe people and monks praying with custom by walking around the stupa in a clockwise direction and rolling prayer wheels with prayer mala in their hands. The Boudhanatha Stupa is under construction after the April 25 2015 earthquake.
3. Thamel,Kathmandu If you are planning to go to Nepal, you are definitely bound to hear about Thamel. It is the tourist hub of Kathmandu. Thamel is right in the heart of Kathmandu and it is literally a tourist town. On any day in Thamel one can see as many tourist as the locals. Thamel is very popular for lodging, fooding, and entertainment. There are lots of stores, markets,hotels, restaurants, pubs and travel operators all established for tourist visiting Nepal. Almost all the adventure and travel trips inside as well as outside can be booked from Thamel.
4. Swayambhunath is another beautiful stupa that lies on a hilltop. It is the holy place for Buddhist and is located west of Kathmandu. On the hilltop of stupa lies temples, shrines, Tibetan monastery, museum and library.
The Stupas attraction is the beautiful painting of four sets of Buddha’s eyes and eyebrow right above the white dome. It shines with gold. The hilltop is ideal to get an aerial view of Kathmandu valley.
Swayambhunath stupa on the hilltop can be accessed by car as well as foot. There are 365 steps that lead up to the hill. Monkeys live on this hill. You will see a lot of monkeys hanging around. Be very careful not to hold food in your hand or any plastic bag that might look like food to the monkeys or they will try to snatch it from you. If you don’t bother them they will not bother you.
Even after the earthquake Swayambhunath still holds strong and has very minor damages.
5. Pashupatinath Temple is the country’s most important Hindu temple. Foreigners are not allowed to enter the temple but the temple can be seen across the Bagmanti river. The temples unique historic building, architecture and observation of Hindu people worshiping will definitely be an experience.
Another rare thing to experience is by the bank of the Bagmati river is watching the cremation ceremony of dead people. On the side where tourist and non Hindu people are allowed one will definitely encounter ‘Sadhu’ men who are covered in ashes, have long dread locked hairs, often smoking pots, painted with colors to symbolize ascetic hindu culture.
Pashupatinath temple is the home for Sadhus as Lord Shiva which is the main god at Pashupatinath is the idol for them.It is considered magical as nothing happened to Pashupatinath temple after the massive earthquake. People still believe the power of the holy place held it strong.
Most people also include Bhaktapur and Patan but they are not part of Kathmandu. They are separate municipalities and very close from Kathmandu. They have their own historic and cultural background. I have covered things to do in [Bhaktapur] and [Patan] separately in the above two blogs.
There are also a lot of beautiful [monasteries] worth a visit around Kathmandu to experience the Buddhist influence and culture in Nepal which is predominately a Hindu nation.
This post was written by Neha Rizal